I am barely here most times. The house stands quiet and silent, like a palace guard.
Shut tight and not talking. Face blank and gun at its’ side.
Ready to let in the known and keep out the unknown.
Much like a mind I suppose.
Everyone needs a trap lurking inside their mushy brains, a thin piano wire stretched taut…
…waiting for you to trip and for the bomb to blow off your mental legs…
I smile at that thought. Some things never change, some ideas never grow old.
Of course, I am older now. Much older in fact.
But my ideas are still much the same as years ago.
War is glory. Peace is never appreciated. The struggle is better than the victory.
Same old song….same old dance.
But this house, *my* house, is something different. Inside is expensive furniture of leather. Expensive rugs. Marble floors. Bedrooms and bathrooms.
It is untouched by me. I feel no connection to this place.
Maybe I used to…once….Once, this place suffered a battle to end all battles. Now it is only a graveyard for the dead.
I don’t even know why I keep it really. I should put it on the market and make a hefty profit.
That sounds like something I would do.
I walk to the kitchen counter and pick up my cell-phone, scanning my list of numbers for the realty agent who sold this estate to me in the first place.
Two rings. Three rings. ‘Hello? Sandra speaking.’
I start giving details, jogging the memory of Sandra.
‘Oh yes…such a splendid property. I almost wish I could purchase it myself.’ Sandra says happily.
Like you could, I think to myself. A nice and cold smile is plastered onto my face, for whose benefit I am not entirely sure.
Perhaps to ignore something gnawing at my gut, this feeling of loss and despair that I constantly try to shove away. Once the house is gone, it is finally over.
Relena and I are over.
‘Ms. Catalonia? Are you still there?’ Sandra asks.
I am about to answer when I hear movement upstairs. I pause, my eyes looking upward and the smile of ice slips off my face.
‘That is all for now.’ I say in a clipped tone and press the ‘end’ button.
I draw near the stairs quietly. Has someone been here the entire time? But the security system was engaged. I walk up each step with my breath held.
Calling the police would be best…or at least alert the idiots who set up this home protection system. They obviously failed.
The hall is deadly still. I strain my ears and catch the sound of faint humming. So…it is a person. Well, they picked the wrong place to spend the night in.
Like a shadow, I slide to the door at the end of the corridor. Our bedroom….Dammit, not *our* bedroom…not anymore…
But then the door opens, flooding the hall with late afternoon sunlight. I shield my eyes quickly and step back, trying in vain to see into the room.
‘You’re back early today.’ A soft voice says, a very familiar voice, a very calm and delicate and loving voice that long disappeared from my world.
I move backward even more, hitting into the wall. My eyes have adjusted now.
Painfully adjusted. Painfully aware.
‘What are you doing here?’ I cover, masking any shock at seeing Relena standing there. I clench my hands into fists, digging nails into my palm. I cannot let her see me like this, still so angry…
‘I live here. Or have you forgotten?’ Relena smiles and goes back into the room.
Live here? This is insane. Relena lives in Germany, reigning supreme over legions….reigning supreme over lovers….reigning supreme and forever alone.
Not here, not in this house.
‘I’m selling it. And you need to get out.’ I state, following her with fast steps across the plush carpet.
Relena spins around, looking shocked and then looking upset.
‘Oh, I see. This is just another damn game for you….I thought you wanted us to be here, *together*. I gave up a whole other life for this mess you call a relationship. When will you ever grow up?’ Relena yells in evident frustration.
I stand still for what seems like an eternity. This is madness! I cannot help but laugh, raising my hand to my forehead with a sigh.
‘Now you find things funny?’ Relena says to me, anger clinging to her words. I look up and puzzle over her.
Relena is here. In our bedroom. Talking like we still live here.
My cell-phone rings downstairs, taking my attention away and I turn to go answer it. But a hand stops me, grabbing onto my wrist with determined strength.
‘Leave it. Just leave the world behind for a moment….for now….’ Relena says softly.
And I look back at her, something in my body shattering as her eyes plead with me.
The phone continues to ring.
‘Why are you acting this way? Why sell this place? I thought…I thought we were going to make a go of it…’ Relena asks me, fidgeting with her nice khaki dress skirt. I watch her hands and see the ring of silver I gave her years ago.
The ring she threw away. The ring I almost dug out of the garbage.
My eyes narrow and I practically fling myself away from her. Relena looks startled, jumping up as well.
‘What? What is it?’ Relena questions.
‘So, when did you get that back?’ I ask, pointing accusingly to her left hand. Relena acts as if she does not understand.
‘What do you mean--’But I interrupt her, ancient rage bubbling up and over inside of me.
‘You threw it away or have *you* forgotten? Said it was as worthless as I was. God, you have got some nerve…coming back here and playing princess, wearing that ring like it matters…’
I did not notice that I was now pacing as I ranted. Relena, probably for her own safety rather than anything else, did not move an inch.
‘I want you gone. As in yesterday. I have no idea what foolish girl game you are trying to capture me with, but it will not work. Not anymore.’ I finish, my breathing slightly heavy. I can feel perspiration on my brow. My hands are trembling with emotions I thought long dead.
Love and hate and agony and sadness. All thanks to Relena. Her lasting gift to me…
‘I…am sorry…’ Relena says in a whisper, eyes brimming with unshed tears. I think for a moment that she seems so confused. Not at all like I last remember her.
No bitter confidence. No biting comments. None of the lady-like viper Relena claimed to be when she walked out of the oak doors downstairs some ten years ago.
This Relena is acting like someone I fell in love with, at that distant school and during the revolution of the universe.
This Relena is crying, sparkling tears running down her pale cheeks and hanging onto her chin for dear life.
The phone started up again.
But, once more, I did not go to it.
‘I would…never do that…ever…I love you…’Relena says in-between sobs.
I shut my eyes tightly. How can she not know that her words are like knives to my flesh? Why is she doing this to me? Was it not enough to hurt me so before?
‘Please listen to me…’Relena is begging now, her fingers grasping at the material of my business suit.
‘Why should I?’ I ask, not bothering to figure out my twisted notions. Not now. Maybe not ever.
The phone continues to shrill, on and on.
But, in the end, Relena does not speak. She draws herself close to me, wrapping her thin arms around my waist and pressing her head to my chest.
I don’t want her there. Against me, in my life, in my heart.
I try to push her away, not caring terribly if I am rough or not. Only I cannot get her away fast enough.
Her lips are on mine like lightening, tasting like something too sweet…like thick maple syrup.
Her tongue is caressing my teeth, warm and wet strokes.
I don’t want her to be kissing me, to be reminding me of all that we lost and all that we cannot regain.
‘I hate you.’ I state, forcing the words past her mouth.
‘That’s okay…’ Relena says, her voice like a ghost in the room.
And I kiss her back, sucking the air from her lungs and pushing it back in again. I force her back, her knees hitting the edge of the bed.
And we fall down.
I leave foreplay behind. I leave behind pain and anger, worry and confusion.
Her body is still like before, twining around me like a snake…enveloping and warm. Relena can make you feel like you are the most important person ever born.
She can always make me feel that way.
Like we could take over the world with our cultured words from our pink-glossed lips. Like we could tear down the walls holding us back with our painted fingernails. Like the planets were just polluted playgrounds for our master plans of defense and offense.
Like we could love each other despite our blinding differences, that it was more than intellectual attraction and sexual tension between us….it was the stuff stupid romance novels were made of.
Achingly real love. Agonizing love. Deep and burning love.
Relena kneads my skin as she moans, a low sound from the pit of her stomach. I can feel her legs shaking, straining to hold back pleasure…trying to hold back the end of whatever this is we are truly doing tonight.
I hold back as well.
Hold back and move slow inside of her, enjoying the heat surrounding me, enjoying the sight of her body rocking against my mouth. Relena clamors to pull me on top of her, to bring our bodies into full contact once more.
And it is all too much for me to contain. Too much lust and desire for this woman beneath me, too much love is coursing through my veins for this damn woman.
Somewhere, the phone is still ringing.
A bird singing.
A bell ringing.
But no…not really…not really those things at all…
I awake with a start. I look around, severely disoriented for a moment.
The cranberry walls and the cream borders. The curtains drawn tight.
A clock reads six a.m. and I sit up.
My clothes lie in a pile upon the floor. And I am alone. Utterly alone.
And the phone rings by my side, a lifeless technology for a bedmate. Relena is gone.
As if I had truly expected anything else, I think bitterly. I pick up the phone and answer.
‘Well, it is about fucking time! But I know what you are trying to pull, Dorothy. So I have a deal for you.’
Relena spoke from the other end of the line. I chuckle audibly and close my eyes.
‘A deal? What more needs to be said after last night?’ I answer with a sigh.
‘Cut the act, Relena.’ This is getting tiresome. So many games between us….why can’t it just be the truth for once?
‘Are you drunk, Dorothy? I am calling about that estate, the one we *both* have our names on, the one you are trying to sell our from under me. Sandra Banks called me with this news since I am on the deed and I want to buy you out of your share. I could use a place further East than my home here and you obviously do not need it further.’ Relena stated, her tone sounding extremely bored.
My heart is beating fast. Was last night a dream? Or a fantasy? Am I that desperate for the past?
‘Sorry. My mistake.’ I reply, my eyes suddenly burning. Stupid and useless tears threatening.
‘I will fax my offer to your office. I am sure we can come to some agreement on price.’ Relena continues, as if I have said nothing at all.
‘Of course…’ I whisper, in a daze. My head hurts and I feel like crying, as if I were some pathetic child. But I refrain. I will not cry, I will not cry, I will not cry.
‘Luckily, I still had your mobile number in my rolodex. And you trying to avoid my call all night….how childish of you.’ Relena took on the tone of a mother scolding and that snapped me out of it.
That condescending edge to her voice, that superiority lacing every word spoken.
Last night was a dream. A strange and desolate longing coming to life for a night….
And it left just as it came, silent and quick.
I put that smile back on, the one I left on the kitchen floor yesterday.
‘I was far too busy for such….trivial matters as you pestering me, Relena. By all means, fax your offer…but I doubt you will be willing to pay the type of price I am asking for.’
It was a vague attempt at meanings between the lines. But the days of Relena catching on are long gone.
Just an apathetic sigh, signaling the end of Relena’s patience with this topic.
‘Fine.’ And then a click.
I am left with a dial tone, sitting in the rumpled sheets of a cold bed in a dead house.
I still want to cry and give way to my misery, but a voice inside stops the waterworks.
That voice has been with me long before I knew Relena….
And it will be with me to my grave, challenging me to move forward and to be strong and to be frozen.
The voice of a little girl teaching an adult how to act like an adult. I fall back into the bed and stare at the ceiling. The voice tells me to get up, get dressed and go.
I tell her to shut up…for now….
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